It could be worse

Sure, things can’t get pretty tense in US hospitals, but it’s worse in China:

Doctors and nurses at a hospital in eastern China have told its administrators that they will use police truncheons and wear helmets to protect themselves from violent attacks by angry patients…

Staff at No. 1 People’s Hospital in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province, also asked for 24-hour security guards and cameras after a spate of assaults that led to injuries and a number of resignations, the Beijing Youth Daily said.

“Until effective measures are taken to ensure their protection, doctors and nurses will attend work with helmets and police truncheons for use in self defense,” the paper quoted a staff notice given to the hospital’s directors as saying.

Medical staff were suffering frequent attacks at work from patients and their relatives, ranging from cursing and death threats to serious beatings, the paper said.

Disputes between patients and hospitals are common in China, where market reforms of the 1980s ended cradle-to-grave healthcare and where lax supervision has led to overcharging, bogus treatments, and corruption.

In December, doctors and nurses at Shanxia hospital in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, were forced to wear hard hats on their rounds after being jostled and spat at for days by relatives seeking compensation over a patient’s death.

At least it’s just a short walk to the ER.

May 22, 2007

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